By Lisa Batten Kunkleman
I saw my mother the other day. Yes, during quarantine, we saw each other. It’s different and distant and yet, it’s better than not seeing her at all. When I walked in her back door she immediately said, “Here’s your air hug,” as she did her twisty hug-herself dance. She and I have always been huggy dancers.
I’m amazed at how quickly our family has gotten used to this different life. It’s been over two months, but in a grand life span, it’s hardly any time. I’ve laid eyes on her a handful of times and the closest we’ve come to hugging is me sitting on the floor and hugging her long thin legs. They were safely covered in pants so there was no actual body contact.
Hubby and I delivered Mom a couple of coolers for when her ancient refrigerator dies and she needs to save all her condiments. It’s been around for decades.
“The fridge has always been a bing-bonger and a hummer but it’s singing a different tune over the past few days. It’s sounding more mournful. Usually I can smack it and the sounds go away. When it’s quiet, I give it a nice pat and say, ‘Thank you.’”
I advised her to shift the frozen foods from the fridge-freezer compartment to the full-sized upright in her garage, just in case the old cold machine conks out. There’s not much food to worry about. My brother and his girlfriend keep her well-fed with home cooked meals since they are nearby. I wish I could have been there sooner and helped more than I have. I think I have caregiver envy since I live several hours away.
I call every day and ask Mom how she’s doing with all this isolation. She always says, “I’ve got nothing to complain about. I’m still here. I’ve been practicing social isolation for too many years to count now. I’m practically an expert.”
Seeing her for only the third time since the quarantine began, I wanted to put her in a bear hug and rock back and forth like we usually do. But I can’t and I hate it. Before leaving, I stood back to back with Mom and we did a little tushy dance, actually shaking our bottoms together. It’s more personal than tapping elbows but not as dangerous as face to face hugging. For now, Mom and I are dancing cheek to cheek.
May 23, 2020 at 7:42 pm
This is the cutest photo and description of your huggy and especially new “tushy dances”. Just too cute!!
This pandemic hits the elderly so hard in so many ways. A month ago my mother tested positive for Corona in her independant living bulding. It was absolutely awful, to not be able to go there and visit her and help her through it. Miraculously she survived Corona! Whew that was a close call.
How wonderful that your brother and his girlfriend are helping your mom out with meals and food. I agree it is so hard to be far away. Finally we are in the same time zone at least… a big improvement over Asia where the time difference was around 12 hours! That definitely made things challenging re connecting.
Stay safe both of you.
May 24, 2020 at 3:45 am
Oh my. I’m so sorry y’all had to go through that but glad to hear she made it through. So far away. I cannot imagine what that’s like. Y’all stay safe.
May 23, 2020 at 9:22 pm
Your mother looks fantastic, Lisa! She’s beautiful. I’m glad you were able to see her. I haven’t been able to see my parents since March 13th. It’s been so hard, especially since I know my mother’s Alzheimer’s is progressing more rapidly since she’s out of her routine of getting out and about. Thanks for sharing your visit!
May 24, 2020 at 3:43 am
Oh Jill I’m so sorry you haven’t been able to see her for so long. Over two months was horrible. My brother was able to help her or I would have had to risk it myself. Having been in Charlotte with its high numbers I didn’t feel safe. I hope your mom is ok and you see her soon.
May 24, 2020 at 10:34 am
Thank you, Lisa. <3
May 23, 2020 at 9:42 pm
She looks beautiful and kind.
May 24, 2020 at 3:39 am
She is all that and more. Turns 92 tomorrow.
May 23, 2020 at 10:24 pm
This is so sweet Lisa!Tell her hello for me!
May 23, 2020 at 10:48 pm
omg…so darned cute!
May 24, 2020 at 3:38 am
Isn’t she? Thanks.
May 25, 2020 at 8:15 pm
Mrs. Lois is one of my very favorite seniors. You guys can break down and do what I did with my grandson….after seeing him almost everyday since his birth, I have gone for over 2 months not being able to hug him or kiss him or even get close enough to touch him! I was settling into a depression from it and I believe my daughter realized it. The last time we were “visiting” them at the end of their driveway, they surprised me…Bennett came outside with the thickest blanket I’ve ever seen. His mom covered him from head to toe in it and he felt his way to me! It was the sweetest hug ever! Especially when he whispered, “ I have missed you so much, Lolly, and I have missed getting to hug you!” It was great and it was what I needed. I needed that touch and closeness even if we were separated by the blanket! Maybe next time you see your mom…..take a really heavy blanket with you. 😘
May 25, 2020 at 10:59 pm
I love it. That’s such a good idea. Thanks.